Start Farming Blog
On January 19, 2016 Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.
Interested in unusual fruits? Come learn all about growing pawpaws and persimmons! Rare Fruit Workshops will take place in two locations on March 30, 2016. Topics include site selection, insects and disease management, pollination and sourcing plants.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to marketing your agricultural products.
The past two winters have ramped up concerns about crown gall in Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast. Wine grape growers are discovering, many for the first time, the horrors of this disease and the extent of the damage it can cause in their vineyards. While there is reason for great concern, I would like to start out by saying that research efforts are generating extensive information on management of this disease, and there are new solutions from research in the pipeline.
Penn State Extension is assessing how best to tailor our outreach and extension programming for those of you who will be the next generation of farmers. Our goal is to provide opportunities for active learning of research-based information that is applicable to your farm operation.
When it comes to managing fire blight, the first line of defense is good sanitation, which is removing the overwintering source for the bacteria: cankers. Understanding what a canker is, being able to identify them in orchard, the importance of removal, and pruning strategies are discussed.
Revised every two years with input from Penn State faculty members, extension specialists and other consultants, this nearly 400-page production guide provides commercial fruit growers, extension educators, consultants, and others with the newest information on fruit culture, orchard nutrition, spraying, pesticides, storage of tree fruit crops, marketing, and management of weeds, insects, diseases and more.
Unlike some flowering landscape trees, peaches, cherries, apples and pears originated in a temperate climate, similar to our own. They are well-adapted to our climate, even in an el Niño year. Most fruit trees went dormant this fall, and stayed dormant. Fruit trees begin to go dormant in response to shortening day length in the fall. Exposure to freezing temperatures accelerates the onset of dormancy. Although this past fall was warmer than usual, the fruit trees got the necessary signals and went into dormancy.
Research performed by universities is relatively expensive because we have to pay for the considerable infrastructure associated with research, including the salaries of trained researchers and technicians. Recently some growers have expressed a desire to perform their own research to save money.
As producers make their way into lambing and kidding season, it brings to mind replacement selection and which factors to consider in that essential management task. Penn State 4H Educator, Bob Brown, reviews and emphasizes the importance of weighing in your lambs and kids.
Although the earth is warming as a whole as a result of climate change, the weather is also becoming more variable resulting in early-winter cold snaps, winter thaws followed by extreme cold events, and early spring bloom followed by frosts.
Penn State Extension is offering three webinar trainings designed for the beginning tree fruit grower who plans to grow tree fruit for sale. Commercial growers with limited experience will also find these trainings helpful. Participants will learn how to consistently grow quality fruit and avoid many of the problems that discourage new tree fruit growers.
The Ag Entrepreneurship team has developed a series of Learn Now Videos for new, young and minority growers. The goal is to increase next generation skills in identifying appropriate markets for their farm-fresh and value-added horticultural products.
Are you a lifetime farmer, just getting started, or looking to take the leap? Well, this podcast is for you! Whether his guests are discussing employment philosophy or the best techniques for cultivating carrots, his down-to-earth conversations with experienced farmers - and the occasional non-farmer - will be time well spent. The Farmer to Farmer Podcast provides a fresh and honest look at everything from soil fertility and record-keeping to getting your crops to market without making yourself crazy. Check out the Farmer to Farmer Podcast and other fantastic resources for farmers at purplepitchfork.com
“Tracking the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” shows growers and others how to identify BMSB, why this pest is important in agriculture, and what’s at stake if we don’t stop it. Four new installments bring important new information about integrated pest management or IPM in terms of biological control, monitoring and trapping, and the iconic pyramid traps. These new videos show just how far our team has come in understanding this peculiar and pernicious creature, and why the newly hatching Trissolcus insect, now in the wild, could change the game.
The Farm Management Team, which is a sub-set of the Agricultural Business Management State Extension Team, is conducting several trainings over the next several months. These courses range from initial start-up training (Exploring the Small Farm Dream), to much more in-depth financial training (Farm$en$e). We also have trainings for those who are considering beginning a value-added food business (Food For Profit). These courses will be held throughout Pennsylvania.
One of the biggest questions a new grower faces is where and how to obtain loans for business start up. Even after the start-up phase, loans often continue to be an essential aspect of business establishment and expansion. No matter who you plan to take your loan from, a review of "The C's of Credit" can help you get organized for approaching your lender.
Evaluating the Body Condition Score (BCS) of individual females in your cowherd will go a long way in determining how you feed your herd during the winter months. Many producers skip this important management tool simply because it takes time and it's difficult to keep records. Now there is new technology available which can make the process simple.
In this article, author Kevin Martin explores the challenges of running a profitable Vineyard, and the key factors to consider when examining where your business stands and where it's headed - Important lessons for agricultural operations of all kinds.
Nitrogen provided by legume cover crops is an important source of fertility for many vegetable growers, but cover crops are also important for recycling nitrogen and building long-term soil nitrogen reserves in soil organic matter (SOM).